Thus says the LORD, The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One. To Him whom man despises, To Him whom the nation abhors, To the Servant of the rulers; Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship, Because of the LORD who is faithful, The Holy One of Israel; and He has chosen You. -Isaiah 49:7
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting. -Micah 5:2 KJV
Where’s Waldo books captivate millions of people, who keep searching, searching for the funny guy in the red-striped shirt.
We play “Where’s… whoever?” with our children, our grandchildren, and the best part, the fun part, is always the revealing of the hidden, delighted face.
But when the Magi came asking that question, “Where’s the child born King of the Jews?” and the Bible-knowledge experts indicated it would be somewhere in Bethlehem, just down the road, how come they, and mobs of Jerusalem’s people didn’t go running to find Him?
The text says instead that they (“all Jerusalem”), along with King Herod, “were troubled.” And it seems they just stayed put. Nobody wanted to play “Where’s Jesus?” Nobody seems to have wanted to reveal His miraculous little face… How come?
Troubled. They were troubled.
And the people were afraid of Herod. Fear of man. But is that all?
Jesus came to set people free from sin and self and death — to bring them a new kingdom of love and light and eternal life.
Was that the problem: that they didn’t want a different kingdom? Is that our problem? Familiar is comforting — just its predictability, if nothing else. “Don’t upset the apple cart,” “Don’t rock the boat,” “Maintain the status quo…” All clichés because they represent such common human thought and desire.
If theirs was fear of a tyrant, the inhabitants of Jerusalem could have taken a lesson from those historic heroines, the midwives of the Egyptian captivity who acted so faithfully, and were rewarded for it, because they feared God instead of powerful people.
But I fear that what we fear is not some tyrant, but just having our world turned topsy- turvy. And Jesus does that. Dumps it out, right upside down, and starts it all new, with new birth sometimes as painful as ordinary birth — but even more rewarding.
So, let me make the effort to find Him in this season, to look for and into His face, to keep Him as the focus of my mind and heart. Then, in the coming new year, may I keep asking, “Where’s Jesus?” and keep running “hard after Him,” fearless in the adventure of faith and Life.
To read — Matt 2:1-6,7-18
Seeking the Christ Child (in the Old Testament)
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I am searching for prophecies and foreshadowings of the Christ child, book by book. I plan to post (nearly) every weekday (leaving myself some margin) a short peek at some hint or promise of the coming baby who would make all the difference. Like the wise men, I’ll be Seeking the Christ Child, but in Old Testament promises and foreshadowings, and sharing what I find. I hope you’ll join me, because if it turns out as rewarding as the past spring’s pre-Easter explorations, this focus could make this one of the richest, most blessed Christmas seasons yet.